How to properly install
an 11-speed chain
The chain could be called the heart of the bicycle. After all, it’s the piece of the machine that makes the bike go forward. It’s also the piece that can end a ride suddenly and unexpectedly when it snaps in half. A broken chain, without the tools or the expertise to fix it, will inevitably cut a ride short and could mean a long walk home. This nightmare scenario is compounded by the fact that an improperly
installed chain can do serious damage to expensive components like the chainrings, drivetrain, derailleur and, even in some cases, the frame.
For this month’s “Garage Files” we’re taking a look at the unsung hero of the bike—the chain—and how to install it properly from start to
finish. In our opinion, this is one skill every rider should have in his or her bag of tricks before he or she embarks on a serious trail ride.
—Ruler (or other chain checker device)
—Needlenose or master link pliers
Measure 12 links from the center of the pin. This will be a total of
24 pins measured. A new chain will measure exactly 12 inches.
If your chain measures more than 12;1/8 inches, it’s time for a
Knowing whether or not it’s time to change your chain is half the
battle. There’s a very easy way to tell if your chain is worn and
stretched out by using a simple ruler.
To start, shift
the chain into
to reduce the
bike uses a
but if your
bike uses a
to the small